Examples of local suicide prevention projects

Suicide prevention, mental health, and well-being were the key messages at community events organised by the Geraldton and Mullewa Local Drug Action Groups in Geraldton and Mullewa during Men’s Health Week. In Geraldton on 10 June, the film ‘Healing’ was screened at Queens Park Theatre. The film’s themes – hope and healing – gave audience members a great introduction for conversations following the screening. Former footballer Heath Black spoke to the audience prior to the screening and then travelled to Mullewa the  following day to train with the local football club and present at a community dinner. The funding also included two suicide prevention (ASIST) and youth mental health first aid trainings in Geraldton and Mullewa respectively. Both projects included the provision of relevant resources with the intention of delivering ongoing support and information.

Mad Men’s Muster – Friday, 29 August, 2014

The second annual Mad Men’s Muster was held in Beverley on Friday, 29 August, 2014, attracting around 80 men from across the Wheatbelt. Organisers the ‘Beverley Community Resource Centre’ hailed the event a great success, with plenty of positive feedback and a 25 per cent increase in attendees over the previous year. Featuring a live presentation from former ABC broadcaster Glenn Mitchell, a comedy act, giveaways, free lunch, and a presentation by Regional Men’s Health and the Pit Stop. The aim of the event is to build community awareness about suicide prevention, services and supports, as well as strengthen resilience in the community.

FIFO Expo Joondalup – 12 September, 2014

The Cities of Stirling, Joondalup, and Wanneroo hosted an expo for Fly-In, Fly-Out (FIFO) workers and their families at Joondalup’s HBF Arena on Friday, 12 September 2014. The event aimed to link FIFO workers and their families to services and organisations that can provide support, practical advice and the tools they need to achieve a well-balanced, supported and financially secure FIFO lifestyle. Stall holders included services from backgrounds in mental health, counselling, men’s health, parenting, local government, relationships, and financial management. Keynote speaker former ABC broadcaster Glenn Mitchell shared his story of struggling with a mental illness and his experiences of regularly working away from home. A selection of other speakers also presented on relationships, financial management, time, the impacts of the FIFO lifestyle on workers, and a panel discussion with a question and answer session.

Wangkatjunka camps for community members affected by suicide

Wangkatjunka community members affected by suicide will be provided with the opportunity to attend camps aimed at increasing community awareness of health and wellbeing. The camps will see four groups of Aboriginal people camp out under the stars for four nights. Organised by Kurungal Council Local Drug Action Group, the camps will help strengthen culture among participants by encouraging discussion on mental wellbeing and community connection. The camps will take place 80 kilometres from Wangkatjunka and will be divided into four groups of fifteen individuals, two of which will be for women and two of which will be for men. Following on from the camps, the organisers will continue to stay in touch with the participants and ensure that any issues raised are followed up and that support is provided.

Midwest tunes into suicide prevention

Not-for-profit organisation Health Communication Resources, in conjunction with the Shire of Carnarvon, organised three workshops for mental health, alcohol and drug service providers, and local community members in Carnarvon during October to decide what the key issues are in the Midwest region and work out what is needed to address them. The results then formed the basis of community service announcements to be broadcast across the Midwest. Radio MAMA is a broadcast partner for the project and donated close to $38,000 worth of air time for the announcements. The messages were broadcast at least five times per day on community and Aboriginal radio stations throughout the region.

Wild Women of the West – 27 October, 2014

Around 185 women from the Wheatbelt community attended a free one day annual seminar held on Monday, 27 October 2014. The event ,’Wild women of the West – diamonds in the rough’, featured guest speakers Adjunct Associate Professor  at the Centre for Forensic Science Judith Fordham, Australian soprano singer Sara McLiver, electric cabernet urban legend Tomas Ford, and Jennifer Atkins. The day provided organisers the ‘Beverley Community Resource Centre’ with the opportunity to spread the message about mental health issues, stress management, and preventative health measures.

Balga Detached Work Project – targeting young, at-risk Aboriginal men

The Balga Detached Work Project will run a series of workshops and activities relating to emotional and physical health, life and social skills, problem solving and help-seeking at the Cullacabardee Aboriginal Community north of Ballajura. The workshops will focus on building resilience, health and wellbeing among young people with diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health issues. Many of the young men in the target group are considered to be in a higher risk category for suicide due to their Aboriginality, tendency towards social isolation, homelessness, illiteracy, disengagement from education, juvenile offending, low self worth, identity loss and cultural disconnection. The project will build on a previous collaboration between Balga Detached Work Project and the Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia where participants painted a nature-themed mural and has been demonstrated to help shift attitudes and behaviours in a positive way.

Photo: Mental Health Minister Helen Morton at the Cullacabardee Aboriginal Community, meeting with the Balga Detached Work Project, the Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia and members of the Cullacabardee Aboriginal Community. 

L-R: Ian Gowing, Ann Andrewartha, Julie Riley, Mike Dixon, Craig Comrie, Matthew Thompson, Minister Helen Morton, Steven Feehan, and Clem Riley.